HOUSTON – Houston mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee released his first attack ad Tuesday that takes aim at Mayor Sylvester Turner.
The 30-second spot will start running Wednesday and accuses Turner’s administration of having what Buzbee calls a “pay-to-play nature.”
“You might think Houston is run by Mayor Turner,” the announcer says at the beginning of the ad as a trio of burly fellows walk down a street. “It isn’t.”
After walking past unflattering headlines about Turner, the trio saunters into a room labeled “Mayor’s Office,” then it cuts to a shot of the faces of the men who are dressed in pig costumes.
“Turner’s allies don’t care,” the announcer says. “They’re just hogs fighting for a place at the trough.”
It ends by reiterating Buzbee’s pledge to fund his own campaign and refusal to take any donations.
VIDEO: Buzbee campaign ad
Buzbee said he is hoping the ad creates awareness for voters.
“City hall is really dirty in other words there are people that are getting rich off of taxpayer money and because of that we are not able to provide basic core services the residents of the city so this ad kind of points that out,” he said.
Sue Davis, the communications director for Turner’s campaign, described the ad as hypocritical.
“Buzbee, his family or his law firm have made campaign contributions to judges assigned to nearly 60 percent of his cases in Galveston and Harris counties, according to public records,” Davis said in a written statement. “Mr. Buzbee knows that the city has a rigorous procurement process, along with limits on campaign contributions, that protects against conflicts of interest in determining who gets a city contract.”
Davis' entire statements are below.
Buzbee responded to the Mayor’s statement saying, “Over the years, I’ve donated to candidates, both democrat and republican, that I support. I’ve never gotten a city contract or sought one. Don’t allow this corrupt mayor to confuse the issues. He gets donations and has doled out more than $425 million to those donors. I’m not taking donations."
Bill King, who lost to Turner in 2015, is also running for mayor. Catherine Kelly, a spokeswoman for King's campaign said Buzbee's theme in the ad is something he's been highlighting for years.
"Bill has been calling out Sylvester Turner’s blatant pay-to-play for years and has offered a solution to end the corrupt cycle of campaign donors getting government contracts," Kelly said in a written statement. "He believes the best way to clean up City Hall is by the citizen-driven petition to end pay-to-play in Houston, and he encourages all candidates running for mayor, city controller and city council to support and endorse the End Pay-to-Play petition drive."
Entire statement from Turner campaign
"Tony Buzbee has no vision for Houston, no ideas and no plans to improve our city.
"What Mr. Buzbee does have is a big case of hypocrisy when it comes to conflicts of interest and campaign contributions.
"Buzbee, his family or his law firm have made campaign contributions to judges assigned to nearly 60 percent of his cases in Galveston and Harris counties, according to public records.
"Mr. Buzbee knows that the city has a rigorous procurement process, along with limits on campaign contributions, that protects against conflicts of interest in determining who gets a city contract. These are the same practices and procedures that have been in effect since the administrations of Mayor Annise Parker, Mayor Bill White and previous mayors. Mr. Buzbee also knows that Mayor Turner takes campaign finance laws very seriously and follows both the letter and the spirit of the laws.
"The real truth here is that Tony Buzbee will say anything, do anything and spend anything to get elected.
"Houstonians deserve better than Tony Buzbee."